Discuss sloe gin recipes - and all those secret family variations! Post your questions and replies here if they are about sloes and gin

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Sloe down
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Joined: 08 Oct 2006, 17:10


Post by Sloe down » 11 Oct 2006, 12:14

:D Hello everyone,
Please would someone give us some scientific information.

1. (a) Do the sloes actually ferment to produce more alcohol from the sugar or is it all a matter of maturing the mixture for taste?

1(b) If yes to 1 (a) above, is there an optimum temperature for fermentation of the natural yeast?

2. Does the pulp of the sloes actually perform any function? The wonderful colour seem to come from the skins.

Our first batch was made in the South of France in September and they were huge but quite hard sloes. Even after we had drained the gin off, there was little change in the appearance of the the berries though they tasted delicious. We had no idea of the optimum size or maturity but it seemed a good time to to make an attempt. We were camping at the time, and the weather was fantastic.
We merely pricked the sloes once at each end with a needle and the result was terrific. However, we hardly drank any ourselves. See below! Our current batch of sloes has been made with soft, small and very ripe berries and we shall be interested in the results of such a different character of berries. Also, we picked so many at the weekend, while actually looking for mushrooms, that we looked up your site and made sloe vodka.

The sloe gin made in France, was beautifully smooth, after eighteen months, iyet and nothing like the syrupy commercial stuff. It was so gorgeous that we almost felt unable to drink it for fear of using it up. Mistake! The problem was that we offered it to a relative to try and, much to our surprise, the bottle was drained dry by the end of the evening, after months of waiting for perfection and a special event with which to celebrate it! I am not sure that we have forgiven her yet! The 'use by' date should have read "immediate consumption" as it failed to last its promised two years!
Thank you for all your help and advice. Wonderful site! :roll:

Lime Candy
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Joined: 23 Sep 2006, 14:20
Location: Birmingham, West Midlands.

Post by Lime Candy » 11 Oct 2006, 16:47

I'm no chemist but here's my two penn'orth FWIW...

1. There is no fermentation.
2. The skins produce the colour, but the pulp produces most, if not all, of the taste.

The commercial stuff is very sweet, and I imagine has all sorts of flavour enhancers and artifical colourings etc. In fact, I think alcoholic drinks are one of the very few things which aren't required to list their ingredients, so nobody really knows what's in there! :?

A cautionary tale there, Sloe Down, to not share around your valuable sloe gin! Give the commercial stuff to the relatives! :D

Wish I'd thought of a sloe-related pun as a user name!

Site Admin
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Joined: 14 Mar 2004, 04:47
Location: Cordoba Spain (ex Cheltenham)

Post by Blackthorn » 11 Oct 2006, 17:23

Welcome to sloe.biz.

There is NO fermenting or brewing involved in making sloe gin! Remember that the sloes are steeped in approx 40% ABV alcohol and cannot possibly ferment - unless someone sold you water instead of gin :wink:

Contrary to popular belief, the alcohol content of sloe gin will never exceed the strength of the original gin, and will indeed be slightly diluted by the transfer of juices from the sloes into your gin, plus sugar.

BTW a certain amount of sugar is essential for this whole sloe gin process. Remember those school experiments with sugar solutions and pigs bladders? - well, this is a similar (but much more practically satisfying) example of osmosis at work.

Juices and colour from the cells of the sloes will not permeate into the gin unless there is sufficient sugar to encourage this osmosis.

So ... forget about sugar being turned into alcohol by fermentation etc :wink: and follow the sloe.biz recipe! This forum is also full of useful and interesting variations. Have fun.
"There's no biz like sloe.biz"

Sloe down
Posts: 3
Joined: 08 Oct 2006, 17:10

No fermentation!

Post by Sloe down » 11 Oct 2006, 22:33

Thank you very much for the excellent replies. I was sure that I would get some intelligent replies.
I felt that the alcoholic levels would not allow further fermentation, but there is a certain amount of air locked onto the skins which are covered in wild yeasts. Obviously of no importance.
Glad to know that the alcohol levels will stay at <40%.as we aim to keep our consumption [i]below [/i]the maximum recommended levels for health.
Obviously, using hard berries produces the colour and does not dilute the content in terms of alcohol as we aim to get as [i]near[/i] to the maximum recommended as possible!!!!! Perhaps we do not get a strong taste, but leaving the berries in longer may work better in this case.
I am so pleased to understand the purpose of the sugar ie. to aid the extraction out the juices from the fruit.
Excellent! Now I know the process, it will aid my understanding and I shall perfect my product, then hide it! At least I know that I can hide it anywhere from the airing cupboard to the bottom of the 'fridge!!!
Cheers, and thanks very much, :wink: Sloe down!

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